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by Rex Wockner
Canada’s House of Commons passed a bill Feb. 9 adding protections for gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.
“This kind of explicit reference within the CHRA would afford transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, intersex, gender-queer, gender-nonconforming and gender-open individuals clearer protection against discrimination and help create a safer Canada for all,” said national LGBT lobby group Egale.
The vote was a close 143-135. All members of the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party supported the measure, along with all but 12 Liberals. Six members of the ruling Conservative Party broke ranks and voted for the bill.
The measure is now before the unelected Senate, which normally rubber-stamps House of Commons actions — though not always.
LGBT activists are concerned that senators could try to stop the bill — or that the government could effectively kill it by calling a national election this spring before the measure completes its legislative journey.